Analyzing Steelers' longshot route to the playoffs
The Steelers must root for the New York Jets, if only for the next two weeks.
As difficult as it might be for them to cheer for a team coached by former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, the Jets are a key part of the circuitous route to the playoffs that still remains for the Steelers.
After beating the Cincinnati Bengals, 30-20, on Sunday night, here's what the Steelers (6-8) need to happen:
• They must beat the Packers (7-6-1) on Sunday in Green Bay and the Cleveland Browns (4-10) at Heinz Field on Dec. 29. One loss leaves the Steelers out of the playoffs and saddled with their first losing record since they were 6-10 in 2003.
• The Ravens (7-6), who beat the Detroit Lions, 18-16, on Monday night, must lose their remaining two games. They play the New England Patriots (10-4) at home Sunday and the Bengals (9-5) on Dec. 29 in Cincinnati.
• The Dolphins (8-6), winners of four of five, must lose to the Bills (5-9) in Buffalo on Sunday and to the Jets (6-8) in Miami on Dec. 29. One Dolphins victory eliminates the Steelers because Pittsburgh cannot get to nine wins.
• The San Diego Chargers (7-7) must lose at home to either the Oakland Raiders (4-10) on Sunday or to the Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) on Dec. 29.
• The Jets (6-8) also must win Sunday in the Meadowlands against the Browns.
If all of these scenarios play out, the Steelers, Ravens, Dolphins, Chargers and Jets would be 8-8. Because ties are broken first inside the division, the Steelers eliminate the Ravens and the Jets eliminate the Dolphins based on better division records.
The Steelers then would eliminate the Jets based on head-to-head play and the Chargers based on a better conference record.
The 1989 Steelers faced a similar scenario going into the final weekend of the season, when they had to win at Tampa Bay and four other AFC teams all had to lose. All five games went the Steelers' way.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers hope group of low-budget cornerbacks can deliver
- Steelers notebook: Ben believes rookie WR Bryant can contribute
- Steelers WR Wheaton wants to produce after injury-plagued rookie year
- Inside the ropes: Roethlisberger may have his big receiver
- Roethlisberger ‘prays’ he can stay with Steelers when deal expires
- Inside the ropes: Speedy rookie Archer dazzles at 1st training camp practice
- Polamalu enters training camp as Steelers’ longest tenured player
- Steelers won’t negotiate Roethlisberger extension until after season
- Steelers notebook: Mitchell to miss beginning of training camp
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin sees ‘good communication’ with WRs on 1st day
- After year off, Steelers’ Pouncey ‘ready to go’